Top Five OET Referral Letter Writing Secrets Revealed


The Occupational English Test will have four sub-tests. And Writing Sub-Test is one of them and it is considered to be very challenging too.

Because in this test, your writing skills are tested. Of course, as a healthcare expert, you are expected to be good at writing. Day-to-day tasks at the hospital, clinic or in any healthcare setting, you may find the need to write.

Your writing task in OET is set with the aim to analyze how good you are at writing. Most commonly, there will be a referral letter. There will be instructions for you on how to write. Using the notes you will have to write a letter.

Read before you write

The first thing that you will have to focus on is reading. Before you start writing check out the given notes. Focus on the case study. Try to understand completely the problems the patient has or is going through. And also understand the task instructions that you receive.

Rewriting the case notes

Remember, you are not supposed to copy anything from the case notes. The case notes are given solely for the purpose of making you understand what to include in your writing. They are meant to help understand the case. Of course, adding small bits of information or rewriting the information, in a nutshell, is, however, allowed. But, take great care in doing so. Because, if the letter has content that exactly matches the notes, you will lose marks.

Organizing the case notes properly

It is also very important to organize the case notes. You can’t just pick the information from the case notes and put them into the letter. It is true that the information in the case notes is always given in the correct order (for instance, medical history) but still, you will have to pick the relevant information and organize it as well.

The structure of the letter can be as follows:

  • Introductory sentences
  • Primary issues/problems
  • Secondary issues/problems
  • Additional details
  • Request/solution

The issues can be both social or medical. Additional details may include information related to the medication. The request is more related to the referral.

Try to include only the main issues (for instance, surgery or the diagnosis).

It is always suggested that the introductory sentences shall be very clear. You shall state the issues very clearly (it can be any underlying medical condition. This can be taken from the part of the information that talks about the condition of the patient at the time of admission)

And try to differentiate the main issues from the secondary issues. You do not have to give equal importance to both of these issues.

For instance, if the patient is diagnosed to have diabetes 1 and also a thyroid problem, then clearly explain which one follows the other.

It is always good to describe medical issues separately. Mixing the ideas can lead to confusion and eventually result in a lower grade.

Checking out samples

It is always good to take a look at a few of the OET writing sub-test samples. Check out sample letters to understand how they are written. Closely analyze the case notes and the sample answer to find out the style of organizing the information. Of course, check out at least 5-10 such ample relevant to your profession.

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